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Proving Fault in Medical Malpractice Cases: Establishing Negligence

By Norman Younker on August 26, 2014


A doctor speaking to a clearly frustrated patient, who might well have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuitWhen you entrust your health to a licensed medical professional, you have every right to expect that you will receive care of a reasonable standard. While physicians, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers are only human, and therefore imperfect, there are certain errors that should never be committed by competent medical professionals. When these errors do occur and otherwise preventable injuries or deaths result, there may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

At Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC in Salt Lake City, proving fault in medical malpractice cases is one of our areas of true expertise. We have the resources, skill, and tenacity to build the most compelling cases possible on behalf of our clients, working with trusted medical experts and performing thorough investigations to ensure that the rights of medical malpractice victims are properly asserted.

If you or a member of your family has been harmed by the negligence of a healthcare provider, we would be honored to fight on your behalf for the full measure of compensation to which you are entitled. At the same time, we will help to send a message to other medical professionals that malpractice is unacceptable.

What is medical negligence?

In order to obtain damages on your behalf, our personal injury attorneys must be able to demonstrate that your injury was caused by an act of negligence on the part of the medical professional or professionals against whom the claim was filed. To demonstrate this negligence, we must establish that:

  • The healthcare professional in question owed you a duty of care. In the case of medical malpractice cases, this duty of care is relatively simple to establish, as it can be expressed in terms of the doctor-patient relationship. Healthcare professionals are held to a “reasonable” standard of care.
  • The healthcare professional in question, either through his or her actions or his or her lack of action, failed to provide care that rose to this minimal, “reasonable” standard.
  • As a result of this failure, the patient suffered an injury that otherwise would have been preventable. If the healthcare professional had acted as a competent peer would have under the same circumstances, the injury would not have occurred.
  • As a result of this injury, the patient is faced with losses and expenses that he or she otherwise would not have had.
  • The healthcare professional in question is therefore financially liable for these losses and expenses, which often include hospital and other medical costs, rehabilitation and physical therapy costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. In cases of extreme negligence, bordering on deliberate malice, punitive damages - damages intended to punish the defendant rather than compensate the plaintiff for demonstrable losses and expenses - may also be assessed. If the patient died as a result of the act of negligence, then the healthcare professional may also be liable for funeral costs and future losses and expenses that can reasonably be projected.

Learn More about Medical Malpractice Cases

To learn more about medical malpractice cases, or to arrange an evaluation of your case, please contact Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC today.

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